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'Disgruntled villagers' set to grill MP over greenfield building

The 'Fleet and Crookham Environment Is Threatened' campaign group is stepping up its protests

Land at Ewshot Lane is earmarked for 60 homes

North East Hampshire MP James Arbuthnot is set to face an "army of disgruntled villagers" during a crisis meeting about concreting over the area’s green fields for more homes.

Mr Arbuthnot will answer questions during a public meeting at the Basingstoke Country Hotel in Hook at 7.30pm on Friday.

The event has been arranged by Mike Morris, who represents Hook on Hart District Council.

Hook resident Mike Jeans said: “The politically-motivated decision to throw out the local plan for Hart , as well as many other districts in the south east, has led to a free-for-all for developers seeking to build on previously greenfield sites.

“The meeting is bound to be well-attended and has generated huge interest in Hook and the neighbouring villages.”

The meeting comes as Taylor Wimpey has announced plans to build around 60 homes on land at Stillers Farm in Ewshot Lane, near Church Crookham.

Its proposals will be displayed at a public exhibition in Christ Church hall, in Gally Hill Road, Church Crookham, next Thursday (March 20) from 4pm to 8pm.

The developer said feedback would be used to help refine its proposals before submitting an outline planning application to Hart District Council.

It added that the proposed site was similar to other greenfield locations where Hart has approved development in order to address a shortage of new housing in the district.

David Edwards, of Taylor Wimpeym said: “We are confident this development would not only fulfil a need for more high-quality family homes and affordable housing in the area, but it would also positively enhance the community for the benefit of everyone thanks to the inclusion of a significantly sized SANGS (suitable alternative natural green space) at the site.”

The location s bordered by Taylor Wimpey’s Crookham Park development on the former Gurkha barracks, to the east, and Ewshot Lane to the west, with Humphrey Park residential area to the north and open countryside and woodland to the south.

Taylor Wimpey is proposing a mix of housing types, with 40% affordable homes for rent or as shared ownership. The sole access would be via Crookham Park.

Hart was forced to scrap its local plan after government inspector Kevin Ward halted a public inquiry into it after just two days in July.

The council is now working on a revised vision to take the district up to 2029, but in the meantime an interim housing delivery strategy is in place.

The FACE IT (Fleet and Crookham Environment Is Threatened) campaign group said Hart was vulnerable to bids by developers while the local plan was being revised.

Ranil Jayawardena, the Conservative candidate to replace Mr Arbuthnot as MP in the 2015 general election , is also due to attend Friday night’s meeting.

Campaigners will stage an environmental walk around the proposed Albany Park and Watery Lane development sites in Church Crookham on Saturday as developer Martin Grant is soon expected to submit an outline application for around 300 homes.

Richard Hellier, a member of FACE IT and a chartered landscape architect, will lead the two-hour walk, starting from the Zebon Community Centre at 2pm.

Anyone is welcome to join the walk but it is not suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs.

 

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